We often say that “Talent is our #1 priority at LinkedIn,” and for me today that was literally true. Recruiting and retaining talent is the most critical part of your job when you are a manger in Silicon Valley, and today I spent nearly my entire day working on various parts of the recruiting process.
Because of our rapid growth, we are in constant need of new software engineers and data scientists. Because of the fierce competition for top notch engineers (particularly those willing to pay $3000 per month to live in a small apartment in Silicon Valley), recruiting these engineers and scientists can be challenging. We also just kicked off recruiting season for new college graduates (including both undergrads and graduate students), so the level of recruiting activity is quite high.
We have a very formalized and effective recruiting process here at LinkedIn. We recruit as a team, with many individuals sharing the burden. Rather than having each hiring manager make decisions on who to hire, we conduct joint interviews afor candidates falling into a few major buckets. My team generally hires out of the Data Mining/Data Analysis/Machine Learning track. Please apply if you are interested!
My day started with an interview of a candidate who had been referred from an existing LinkedIn employee. In this market, referrals are a common source of candidates, although I have argued against them in the past.
My next recruiting task was an informal lunch meeting I had set up with a passive candidate. A passive candidate is a candidate that might be interested in a new opportunity but is not actively looking for a job. LinkedIn is a great tool for finding passive candidates, and for this particular opening I told our recruiter a very specific set of skills and experiences I am looking for. When she sent me the LinkedIn profile of the person with whom I met today I felt that she may have found the purple squirrel that I had described.
After my recruiting lunch, I met with a team of managers to review applications. We have managers from many different teams at LinkedIn evaluate applications across all recruiting tracks. This process ensures a great level of consistency in the quality of our hires.
My last recruiting task of the day is actually the best part of recruiting – I picked up a new member of my team from new employee orientation. LinkedIn does a great job of making our new employees ready to contribute from day 1. All employees are introduced to the mission of the company, and they all go through a common set of onboarding tasks (setting up computer, benefits, etc.) For new software engineers, there is a second day of technical onboarding.
Today was a really busy day and I didn’t feel like I accomplished that much “real” work, but in fact recruiting related tasks have nearly the biggest ROI (Return on Investment) of anything I do. As someone famously said, “half of all advertising is wasted – unfortunately I don’t know which half.” When it comes to recruiting, probably 95% of your time is wasted. The trick is to not lose patience or focus – the 5% percent of your time when recruiting is successful contributes to 100% of your success as a manger.